Iain McOustra: The Proost Questionnaire

The Proust Questionnaire is a famous questionnaire about one’s personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses once given by the French writer Marcel Proust. Ben’s Beer Blog has co-opted this format in order to provide a revealing look at people making beer and working in the beer industry in Ontario. As such, I’ve renamed it The Proost Questionnaire, since “proost” is the Dutch word for cheers. Clever right?

Iain McOustra, the brewmaster for Toronto’s Amsterdam Brewery reveals his affinity for chefs, the British overseas intelligence agency, and swimming off Caribbean islands.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Walking with my wife around the city. Stopping in at our favourite spots and wasting the day away eating and drinking.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Tracking down all of Pavement’s record store day releases.

What is your favorite occupation?

Brewing beer “not to style” but how I like it.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Harry Smith.

Which living person do you most admire?

Chefs. They all seem to be a little crazy.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Impatience and a tendency to respond without thinking.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What is your greatest extravagance?

Tasting menus.

What is your favorite journey?

From the idea for a recipe to that first time you taste it.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


On what occasion do you lie?

When talking to sales people.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“All about perspective.”

What is your greatest regret?

Not keeping in touch with friends and family who have moved away.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife, Erica.

When and where were you happiest?

On a trip to Curaçao this past January, swimming at Chiki Knip.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Saying no.

What is your current state of mind?

Running a million miles an hour.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to be able to unplug.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Never finding happiness in the day to day.

Where would you like to live?

4 Emmallan, Willemstad

What is your most marked characteristic?


What is the quality you most like in a man?


What is the quality you most like in a woman?


Who are your favorite writers?

James Ellroy, McCarthy and Vonnegut.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

George Smiley.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My parents. Completely selfless and charitable people.

What are your favorite names?

Boomer and Josephine.

How would you like to die?

Suddenly, after a long life.

What is your motto?

One more.

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